KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam admitted ripping apart a poster held by a student, with a caricature of a clown resembling Najib Razak, but said he had the right to do so.
Lokman said if such an incident were to happen again, he would do the same thing.
“This is an act which is insulting to Najib. We did not even disturb them.
“If they carried posters of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad or Lim Guan Eng, I would not have cared.
“But this is Najib. This is Najib’s programme. They used a disgusting picture. Therefore, I had the right to tear up the poster,” he told reporters at the conclusion of the former prime minister’s “sembang santai” session with students of Universiti Malaya at Amjal Restaurant here today.
Earlier, a commotion and a scuffle broke out between Najib’s supporters and several other UM students, who had assembled at a bus stop opposite the restaurant, carrying posters condemning Najib.
At the close of the session, several Najib supporters appeared unhappy at being filmed during their confrontation with the students and vented their anger at reporters covering the event.
Lokman said he did not expect such a thing to happen today, citing a similar incident during the Semenyih by-election, when distasteful banners and posters of Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, were put up.
In the earlier incident, Lokman said they took it upon themselves to remove the posters.
“So when they came with a poster like this, I just tore it up,” he said.
Lokman said he had been made to understand that the students were “UM DAP” students.
Asked if his actions were justified, Lokman threw back a question.
“Are their actions justified, I’m asking you now.
“Yes, they have the freedom to assemble but not to use a picture of Najib.
“I don’t care,” he said.
Muhammad Saiful Husaini Syafie, who had organised today’s session, expressed regret over the provocation by the students, calling it cheap publicity.
“We held our activity off-campus. Why did they have to come and bother us? We never disturbed them at their programme.
“We hope such provocations among undergraduates will no longer happen,” he said.
Asked if there was any indication that the students were planning a protest, Saiful said no.
“They came out of the blue. I was with Najib during the dialogue session and all of a sudden, we heard them shouting downstairs.
“We opened the doors for them to come up but they decided to provoke us by causing chaos on the street,” he said.
Saiful thanked the task force for its swift action in asking the students to leave.